Geoduck (1882)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Nov 7 17:21:25 UTC 2002

At 12:36 AM -0500 11/7/02, Bapopik at AOL.COM wrote:
>    OED and Merriam-Webster both have 1883 for "geoduck."  I'm sorry
>that I have only 1882, but it's a decent 1882 citation from the
>American Periodical Series.  I gotta do something for Allen Maberry
>up there in Washington.
>    29 April 1882, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, pg. 264:
>    _The Geoduck._
>    The following extract from a list of shells sent with some
>specimens to Mr. George W. Tryon, jr., the Conservator of the
>Conchological Section of the Academy of Natural Sciences of
>Philadelphia, by Mr. Henry Hemphill, appears to me to be of
>importance as a contribution to economical science, and with Mr.
>Tryon's permission I am allowed to make use of it for publication.
>    "_Glycimeris generosa_.  Olympia, Washington Territory.
>    "I send you a fine large specimen of this species.  Its flesh is,
>I think, the most delicious of any bivalve I have ever eaten, not
>excepting the best oysters.
>    23 February 1883, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. 4:
>    But the oolachan pales before something called the "geoduck."
>This name alone has an inviting sound.

Does anyone know how this tasty specimen got to be spelled "geoduck"
while being pronounced "gooeyduck"?  Given the purported etymology
(AHD4:  from Puget Salish gwid at q), it's the spelling rather the
pronunciation that's off here.  And I suppose the "duck" spelling in
particular represents the same kind of folk etymology we have in
"crayfish", "rosemary", and "mushroom".


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